Following a recent USA Today/Gallup poll that showed a decisive increase in women’s support of President Barack Obama over likely opponent Mitt Romney, conservative commentators and twittervists have been attempting to reclaim the “war on women” that has driven female voters towards the Democrats in droves. If trending topics on Twitter are anything to go by, today’s White House Forum On Women and the Economy has proven to be a perfect forum for the topic, indeed.
“Everyone ready to hijack #womenseconforum? That’s the @whitehouse hashtag for the bogus women & economy forum,” user Teri Christoph tweeted on Wednesday, a rallying cry for her followers. Christoph is the co-founder of Smart Girl Politics, a conservative activist group attempting to paint the widespread outcry against policies regarding women’s health and contraception as nothing more than liberal bias.
“The most important thing I’ve learned so far from #WomenEconForum is liberal women think conservative women should not have a voice,” Christoph said in between insulting attendees for their “girlish giggling” and commenting on the “emasculation” of President Obama, highlighting her sensitivity to gender issues.
Other commentators on the hashtag have been promoting Smart Girl Politics’ latest campaign, “They Don’t Speak for Us,” which calls the outcry about women’s health “games” and urges the government to ignore those silly women who want to talk about contraception (a group that South Carolina Governor Niki Haley appeared to deny existed earlier this week on The View, when she stated flat out that “women don’t care about contraception”).
Smart Girl Politics’ campaign is only part of the Republican’s attempt to regain control of the debate by painting the outcry over the Republican position on women’s rights and contraception as nothing more than a liberal fiction. The President of the Republican National Committee even went so far as to compare it as a “war on caterpillars,” leaving the caterpillars to wonder what they’d ever done to him and women to wonder why Republicans seem determined to equate them to livestock and insects.
This attempt to shout down dissent and paint it in the unflattering light of derogatory, dismissive language is not a new tactic, but is it effective? It seems unlikely that attempting to put liberals on the defensive by claiming that they are the group conducting a “war on women” is going to win over any of the voters that have turned towards Obama in the past few weeks. Could it be that these twittervists believe that these female voters can be won back over with nothing more than some shaming language to put them back in place?